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Eero Tarasti

Eero Aarne Pekka Tarasti
Born September 27, 1948, Helsinki.

Master of Arts, 1973, Licentiate of Philosophy, 1976, and Doctor of Philosophy (Musicology), University of Helsinki

Professor of Musicology, 1984–2016, University of Helsinki
Professor of Musicology, 1983–84, University of Jyväskylä
Professor of Arts Education, 1979–83, University of Jyväskylä

Vice-president, 1994–2004, President, 2004–2014 and Honorary President, 2014-, IASS/AIS:n (International Association for Semiotic Studies)
Founder and President, ISI at Imatra (International Institute for Semiotic Studies), 1988–2013
Chairperson, Finnish Semiotic Society, 1979-
Founder and Editor-in-chief, Synteesi arts research periodical, 1982-

Publications, research projects and other academic activity

Awards and special achievements
J.V. Snellman Prize, University of Helsinki, 1997
Honorary Doctorates in four universities abroad (Bloomington, Indiana; Tallinn, Estonia; Sofia, Hungary and Aix-Marseille, France)
Honorary member, Victoria College, University of Toronto

Written by Eero Tarasti and Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta (ed.)
Translated by John Calton

The Prelude to a Professorship

I once said in an interview that I couldn’t imagine what it was like not to be a professor, since I had been one my whole life. “Whole life” in practice means from the age of 23, when I held my first professorial chair in general literature at the University of Helsinki.

I came to this place in 1967 and also enrolled in the Sibelius Academy. I was admitted to study theoretical philosophy, since there was no entrance examination involved if you had six laudaturs (i.e. top grades) in the school leaving exams. This suited me well as I had studied German philosophy at upper secondary school and translated half of Martin Heidegger’s Sein und Zeit (Engl. Being and Time). But philosophy at the University was in the Anglo-analytical tradition and my first course was propositional calculus, and taught by S. Albert Kivinen.

Following army service I switched to the Faculty of Political Science and in 1968 began to study sociology and social psychology. But then I took aesthetics and thereafter got to know Erik Tawastjsterna. He drew me to musicology. I am thankful that I was able at that stage to try out a number of subjects. This cross-disciplinarity was safely channelled into semiotics. As far as the Sibelius Academy was concerned, I was a difficult case because I was forever heading off somewhere abroad.

Eero Tarasti in the Department of Musicology in 1987.​
Eero Tarasti in the Department of Musicology in 1987.​


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